One of the largest counties in Arizona parted ways with its elections director after the office failed to print enough ballots for voters in its Tuesday primary.
Pinal County’s government announced Thursday that David Frisk was no longer employed after “recent issues” with the primary election.
It’s not clear whether Frisk was fired or resigned. However, County Supervisor Jeffrey McClure said in a Wednesday news conference that the county would be “taking action” in response to the debacle, according to Arizona KVOA.
County officials are explaining the ballot shortage as a human error, having underestimated the turnout in the primary election.
The shortage disproportionately impacted registered independents who wanted to vote in the Republican primary at a polling place. County officials didn’t anticipate the turnout of independents who wanted to vote in the contest.
“Quite frankly, we underestimated, that’s what happened,” said county attorney Kent Volkmer.
“There were more people that showed up than we thought were going to show up.”
Volkmer admitted that some Pinal County voters were unable to vote at a polling place due to a lack of ballots.
Lengthy lines deterred some citizens from voting.
He says everyone who waited in line had the opportunity, but people still felt disenfranchised. "Some people chose to leave and not come back." – County Attorney Kent Volkmer
— Camryn Sanchez (@CamrynSanchezAZ) August 3, 2022
It was the second big mistake for the Pinal elections office in a month. In early July, the county mailed 60,000 misprinted early ballots to voters.
Thursday’s announcement said Pinal County Recorder Virginia Ross would be filling the role of elections director, resigning from her position as an elected county official to do so.
McClure, the chairman of Pinal County’s Board of Supervisors, expressed his remorse for the county’s mismanaged election in the news release announcing Frisk’s replacement.
“As a Board, we are deeply embarrassed and frustrated by the mistakes that have been made in this primary election, and as such, we are taking immediate steps to ensure the November election runs smoothly, as elections in Pinal County have historically done prior to this primary,” said McClure.
The county officials rejected claims that the ballot shortage was intentionally manufactured, describing the situation as a mistake.